South Africa


South Africa’s 24-hour trends report 23 June, 2020

South Africa’s 24-hour trends report 23 June, 2020
Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi, January 16, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa. He has called for Orania to be shut down. (Photo by Gallo Images / Sowetan / Sandile Ndlovu)

This is a summary of the trending, highest impact, and most active themes and their narratives related to social cohesion and division in South African public-domain social media conversations on 23 June 2020. Global trends impacting on South Africa are also included.



At 14:42 on Tuesday @chemicalbrodar tweeted: “Black Americans don’t give a shit about Africans. The sooner you understand, the better.” This post has been retweeted more than 5,000 times and it has received over 15,000 likes. In response @Naddylight commented: “I didn’t know this was a thing. Are African-Americans really out here calling other POC monkeys???? WHAT????????? This is the first time I’ve heard of this.” @terryfgaming added: “IMO this entire thread is missing that this is EXACTLY what the colonialist wanted. We are broken people spread across the world with very similar cultures.”

Ten minutes later @chemicalbrodar tweeted again to say that Africa is only remembered so that its people can be exploited. This post received a further 228 retweets and 1,300 likes. 

More posts relating to discrimination against Black Africans by African-Americans followed from a tweet made at 03:32, an insensitive remark about the state of technology in Africa. 

#AfricaOnNetflix trended on Twitter as @NetlfixSA shared a video promoting the representation of black African people in artistic roles like dancers, actors and directors. The post was retweeted over 1,000 times and received more than 123,000 views. Replies to the post were mostly positive with people saying that they had chills and showing aspiration that their work will one day be on Netflix.

The issue of black representation in the media was also discussed in relation to the upcoming movie, Cracka, which portrays black people as landowners and white people as slaves. Responding to a tweet made by @putyourselfontv that advertised the upcoming movie, @Agentfitz777 tweeted: “This movie isn’t made for black people. This movie is made for white people who don’t want to feel bad about slavery bc they want to believe black people would have done the exact same thing to white people that white people did to black people.” This tweet received over 200,000 likes and more than 70,000 retweets. 

Gauteng MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi took to Twitter to call for Orania to be shut down. Tweeting pictures of the currency and flag of Orania, @Lesufi called the state “… a betrayal of our call for a truly non-racial South Africa”. His post was retweeted over 5,300 times and has received  9,100 likes. Responding to Lesufi, some noted that “#Orania has been trending” and questioned if it’s an attempt by the ANC to rile up citizens.

@katlegoktee tweeted in response: “Xenophobia A word used to bully black South Africans Into Silence”. This comment was retweeted 38 times and received 151 likes. The tweet that accompanied the picture read: “I am 22 but I already tired to be blackmailed by apartheid. South Africans are killed by the so-called African brothers.” 

Another xenophobic attack trended within the top three topics for the day. Twitter account uLerato Pillay urged people to not feel obliged to provide foreigners an explanation if we say that South African citizens should be prioritised in this country. This tweet was retweeted more than 200 times. Within the comments, people added snippets of news articles that read “Trump is suspending certain visas for foreign workers” and “British jobs for British workers”. 

@interrec tweeted at 18:28 that they had presented proof to the Human Rights Commission that black home owners were paying 80% more on monthly instalments and that Wesbank was charging 100% more interest on vehicle loans. This post has been retweeted over 800 times and has received more than 900 likes. 


Vaccine hope

Wits University’s announcement of their first clinical trial for a Covid-19 vaccine t received over 800 retweets and over 1,300 likes. “Wits University” was also a top trending topic, with discussion focused on treatment and collaboration alternatives, as well as funding. 

The trial by Wits is in collaboration with the University of Oxford and other institutions that are funded in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Foundation’s involvement sparked debate, with some opposing the trial being conducted in South Africa. @AndyChocol8 tweeted, “Bill Gates is hiding behind Wits University and Oxford University to test his vaccine in Africa, South Africa. It seems he orchestrated this quite well. He wants to kill us! Why must he come to South Africa when France and Italy have the highest deaths???!”. This tweet received approximately 720 likes and 450 retweets. 

Tweets by @robzinterris, which received over 1,000 likes and 230 retweets, and by @lebokarel, which received approximately 70 likes and 40 retweets, echoed this sentiment. The #SayNoToWitsVaccine hashtag  received over 130 mentions. Some of these posts, such as one by @EddieMoyoM3, propose conspiracy theories around vaccine profiteering. Such theories did not seem to gain much support, as @EddieMoyoM3’s tweet received only 20 retweets and 16 likes. This narrative, which seems to vilify the vaccine trial taking place in South Africa, appears to ignore reports by several publications noting that trials are also taking place in many other regions and countries including Germany, China, US, and the United Kingdom. Such reports include articles by The Washington Post, Cape{town}etc and the Council on Foreign Relations.

Out of work

Stats SA released South Africa’s latest unemployment rate for Quarter 1, 2020 on Twitter, revealing that it has increased to 30.1%. The tweet received 466 retweets and 255 likes. The latest unemployment statistics elicited concern from some Twitter users who fear that unemployment rates may increase significantly as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

South Africans shared their opinions on the unemployment rate.  @AkeMarven tweeted: 

“Stats SA: Unemployment has risen to 39.7%?

ANC: which ones are mostly unemployed?? 

Stats SA: Black people 

ANC: arg they are our brothers & sisters they will understand. #unemployment.”

The tweet received 91 retweets and 278 likes.

@MeshackBevhula called for the unemployment rate to be declared a pandemic: “#unemployment in South Africa should be declared a pandemic.” The tweet received 194 retweets and 820 likes. Vusi Thembekwayosuggested that, to ameliorate the unemployment crisis, politicians would need to prioritise South African nationals. He tweeted, “In a post-Covid South Africa, where unemployment is expected to pass the  40% mark & Nedbank expects that 1.6million South Africans added the queue of unemployment, #PutSouthAfricaFirst will have to be a bipartisan movement that is ground zero for all politicians.” echoing that putting South Africans first might be one of the ways to combat  the high unemployment rate. The tweet received 1,300 likes and 454 retweets.

Other Twitter users prayed for God’s support when applying for jobs, “May your CV and job application find FAVOUR in the eyes of the recruiters and employers this week ❤🔥. Amen.🙏” tweeted @Tman_touch. The tweet received 1,800 likes and 453 retweets. 

@Prof_Erence warned Twitter users of job scams that might be on the rise as people get desperate for work, “This lady calls herself ‘Kgomotso Moeketsi’, her friend ‘Lynnette’ created job advertisements, people applied and she invited them for interviews on Wednesday 17 June, people were told to bring cv, id and R200 for itc and criminal check at their Agency, North Riding Joburg.” The tweet received 464 retweets and 224 likes. 

@Samke_Nkwanyan claims that although she has a Bachelor’s Degree she had to take up work at a blanket shop. She tweeted: “A whole Bachelor’s Degree Graduate got a Job at a Blanket Shop.” The tweet received 5,100 retweets, 34,200 likes and 1,200 comments, with some encouraging her to use this as an opportunity to learn so that perhaps one day she could own her own business. @Nomvuyiseko_M commented “Learn as much as you can and maybe one day you will open your own blanket business. Know where your boss stocks and for how much. Learn client service because you are in a client service business. Learn about the types of blankets and what does the client prefer. You go girl.” The response received 3,700 likes and 255 retweets. 

@MhlengiDubs presented an opposing view, suggesting that education might not be the key to change: “They told us that education is the key, & the moment we got that key, they changed the lock. Until we realise that this has nothing to do with the qualifications we have and that it has everything to do with the fact that this system wasn’t designed to serve a black child…” The response received 237 retweets and 1,100 likes. 

Cops robbed 

Social media users expressed disbelief following reports of an alleged robbery at a police station in Mpumalanga. Twitter user @JustMeka_, tweeted “A police station got robbed. A police station. Got. Robbed.” The tweet gained traction with 2,900 retweets and 8,400 likes. 

On the same day, @AdvoBarryRoux provided more context on the issue in a tweet that read: “There was a robbery at BushBuckridge Police Station in Mpumalanga, A clerk was shot & wounded. Guns were stolen from the safe & Police officers were also robbed of their firearms. South Africa remains nothing but a crime scene.” The tweet received 177 retweets and 623 likes.

Cops slammed

Reports of a woman being turned away by police after she was raped by a taxi driver gained traction on social media. Yesterday journalist @LudidiVelani, tweeted: “A Khayelitsha woman was turned away from the police station last night where she wanted 2 open a rape case. The 26-yr-old woman says she boarded a taxi to TR section, the driver took another route where he raped her. She says police told her not to bath n return the following day.” The tweet generated 446 retweets and 211 likes. 

Later, @NanaSamela shared a tweet directed at SAPS: “Police officer @ Khayelitsha police station just turned away a young women who got raped by a taxi driver ‘Buya ngomso, ungavasi uzoncedwa’ @SAPoliceService Haibo njani 🙆🏽‍♀️🙆🏽‍♀️🙆🏽‍♀️ senzeni kangaka, when abantu bomtheto are not on our side 😭😭”. The tweet received 1,400 retweets and 969 likes. DM

The Centre for Analytics and Behavioural Change (CABC) is a non-profit organisation based at UCTs Graduate School of Business and incubated by the Allan Gray Centre for Values-Based Leadership.


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